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Ministries respond to key public concerns

Hu Yongqi
Updated: Jul 11,2017 7:18 AM     China Daily

Central ministries and departments responded to a series of public concerns in the past week, including policies facilitating interregional transfer of housing provident funds, development of the sharing economy, eliminating drug price markups, education, and customs clearance.

Transfer of housing providents

A platform was put into operation on July 1 for residents to transfer their housing provident funds nationwide. This was a change from the previously separated systems in provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions that led to inconvenience when people moved from one place to another.

On the new platform, people can transfer housing provident funds from one region to another, while provincial-level regions can share information on deposits and withdrawals of such funds as well as keep records of housing loans.

By doing this, the rights of residents will be ensured as they will get housing fund loans at lower interest rates than commercial loans. The platform also helps migrant workers and other newly settled urban residents solve their housing problems.

Boosting the sharing economy

A guideline on promoting the sharing economy, promulgated by the National Development and Reform Commission and seven other ministries, said the government will encourage innovations in the sharing economy while regulating the sector in an efficient manner.

More sophisticated regulations will govern different subareas of the sharing economy, reduce barriers for new market entities and prevent risks, the guideline said. The document was approved in principle at a State Council executive meeting on June 21, which was presided over by Premier Li Keqiang. The document said the government expects orderly competition among sharing-economy companies and will regulate monopoly actions by such companies to ensure legitimate rights of consumers and public well-being. Specific tax policies suitable for the development of a sharing economy will be released to boost the sector, the guideline added.

Drug price markups to be abolished

Drug price markups will be eliminated at public hospitals directly administered by the National Health and Family Planning Commission, and the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, according to a notice jointly issued by the commission, the Ministry of Finance and five other ministries.

The document requires these public hospitals to follow local drug pricing reforms, participate in building a hierarchical medical system and carry out the medical insurance payment reform.

Helping schools in poor areas

Facilities and other conditions will be improved for schools that provide compulsory education in poverty-stricken areas, according to a notice jointly promulgated by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance.

Poverty-stricken counties will receive supportive policies to push forward comprehensive improvements in school buildings and facilities by the end of this year, the notice said.

Local authorities will be called to account, if found neglecting duties with delays in programs or serious problems that impose quality and safety risks.

In 2015, about 173,000 classes had more than 66 students, a decrease of 17 percent from that in 2013. By the end of 2018, classes of more than 66 students will be eliminated. By 2020, all classes will have no more than 56 students, the Ministry of Education said.

National customs clearance

China’s customs clearance has been integrated since the beginning of this month, making it possible for companies to apply for such procedures at any customs office across the country, according to the General Administration of Customs.

Under the new framework, companies will be allowed to declare cargoes with a single submission at any customs in the country. After a safety check following the submission, cargoes will be transported to the next stop. Tax payments can be processed afterward.

Centers for risk prevention and tax collection have been established to operate in a concerted, integrated and smart manner. For companies, a single standard is implemented at customs, which will provide them with an integrated and convenient clearance.

GAC officials said the integration has reduced the time for customs clearance and will bring benefits for companies by increasing efficiency and streamlining procedures.